Written By Scott Knight:
Over the last twenty years I have had the opportunity to be involved with thousands of kids lives through team sports and specifically youth player development in softball and basketball. I do not have a degree and I am certainly not a “professional” in regards to coaching. However, what I do have is a “passion” and a “vision” to change lives through youth sports and player development.
As I mentioned in my last article there are millions of kids with potential to be elite athletes that are getting lost in a world of league softball where kids are being put on teams with coaches that have never played this sport and often times have less knowledge of the game than the players on the team they are coaching. While we appreciate the league coaches for volunteering and giving up their time we are also wasting the precious time for the players to learn and reach their full potential.
As the former President of a local league program, the biggest complaint I received from the parents was that their child was placed on a team with a coach that had very limited knowledge of the game and their child was not learning anything about the game. My solution was to create a skills and drills program at our local ballpark every Wednesday night and every Sunday afternoon to give the kids an opportunity to receive quality training at an affordable price. We charged $5 per practice and ANY PLAYER, ON ANY TEAM was welcome to participate.
The skills and drills program started with a handful of kids that were attending but through word of mouth and seeing players improve at a very fast pace, the skills and drills program eventually had hundreds of kids participating. The best news is the majority of those same kids are now teenagers that are winning state championships, World Series Championships, and searching for college athletic scholarships.
If not for that skills and drills program the majority of those players would have most likely been left behind with that same league team and that same league coach with no opportunities to receive fundamental training. For that reason, I am writing this series of articles, and today I am challenging our local league board members, league coaches, and league parents to consider implementing an AFFORDABLE skills and drills program that will give all of the kids in your league an opportunity to reach their full potential.
It can be done, because I have done it, and I want to reach out to anyone that is involved in a local league, where the training opportunities are limited, and TOGETHER we will make a difference in the lives of those players that want to reach their full potential.
To get started here are a few things that I suggest:
First, you must find an individual “coach” in your area that has a “passion” for the game, a “passion” for kids, and the knowledge and experience to teach the fundamentals. We are not looking for a “professional” coach (although that would be great) but we are looking for someone that in energetic, financially stable (this job doesn’t pay much), and someone that wants to accept the challenge to help us change lives through player development.
Secondly, in order for us to have a practice we must have a facility/field to practice on a regular basis. This field/facility must have lights because most of our work will be done during the evening. These facilities will need to be very reasonable in price because your skills and drills budget will be very limited in the beginning.
Lastly, we must “train the trainer” on the skills and drills program to ensure that we are offering a quality and affordable practice as often as possible. I can help with “training the trainer” and then we are on our way to turning those “C” class players into “B” class players and those “B” class players into “A” class players and hopefully they will eventually be college “scholarship” players.
That, my softball friends, is the challenge for now. If you can obtain a quality coach in your community, that is willing to step up and take the lead, and provide him/her with a facility to offer quality and affordable training we can make this happen and I will be willing to help you every step of the way… that is my “vision” and I challenge you to help ensure that all kids that have the desire and the work ethic to become elite athletes have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Scott Knight: Is a youth player, and team development specialist. He is the founder of Thunder Softball Family, Founder/Instructor of Thunder Softball Skills and Drills, Founder/Instructor of Thunder Basketball Skills and Drills. All are in in Benton, Arkansas.
He has over 20 years of youth coaching experience, and over 40 youth state championships (Arkansas) and 10 national/world series championships in the past 10 years.
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